Ivy Ford performs at the Music at Twilight concert series in Kenosha, Wisconsin

June 11, 2024: Ivy Ford performs at the Music at Twilight concert series on Kenosha, Wisconsin’s lakefront.

Another Week: Number 77

by | June 16, 2024

After months of anticipation, summer is not only here — it’s already passing.

On Sunday, my brother-in-law Kevin and I drove out to Wilmot Union High School and met a bunch of other family members there to witness the graduation of our niece Katie.

We sat in the bleachers. Elgar looped and looped. Speeches were made about the potential the future holds. Names were announced in alphabetical order. There were minor audio difficulties. The weather was perfect. Katie plans on becoming a medical examiner once she completes twelve more years of school.

Back in Racine, the school year also wrapped up on my block. Students, faculty, and staff packed their balloons and boxes into their vehicles and drove away – leaving Mitchell School to the construction crews and their heavy equipment, porta-potties, and dust for the summer months.

On Friday afternoon, I drove downtown to attend the celebration of life for Wendy’s husband Harry.

I lasted about ten minutes. Preservation Hall was packed, but Wendy was the only person I knew. For 42 years, Amy was the friendly buffer between my social paralysis and the people of Earth. Now I was suddenly all alone in a hall filled with strangers and profoundly feeling my own loss instead of her good friend’s.

Military members were arriving in dress uniforms as I left.

I did not go for any walks this week — but I did water my plants four mornings and got this year’s second application of Milorganite on my lawn right on schedule on June 15th.

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Music at Twilight Concert Series: Ivy Ford

My sister Karen has taken it upon herself to regularly put me in the proximity of fellow humans. She has also developed an interest in community events.

In accordance with both aims, I joined her and Kevin at this summer’s first free “Music at Twilight” concert in the backyard of Anderson Arts Center on Kenosha’s lakeshore. The evening’s performer was Ivy Ford, a blues guitarist and singer who grew up in Waukegan, Illinois and, when not touring the globe, resides in Kenosha where she’s been playing for years.

It was a beautiful, cool early evening. Potential rain quickly blew out over the lake and golden hour lit the lawn.

Attendance was fairly strong, but the fans were tentative. A large area in front of the stage went unoccupied while most of the audience, us included, hung back quite a way. As is usually the case, especially at outdoor shows, many think of the music as a background to their conversations.

Live performances depend on an energy exchange with the audience, and that’s difficult across a gaping void. We should have positioned ourselves much closer, and the sound system should have been a little louder — without the added electronic reverb emphasizing the distance.

Nevertheless, Ford showed off an impressive variety of styles, both vocally and via her polka-dot Buddy Guy Stratocaster, playing hard blues, jazzy blues, some custom arrangements, and even that “Old Time Rock & Roll” for Kenosha’s classic car contingent. Some things worked better than others, and Ford occasionally added some body English when they did.

It was a very enjoyable two hours.



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Billy Elliot (2000)

My mom has DirecTV and I have been using its DVR feature to occasionally grab movies from TCM that might work for our movie nights. She loves TCM, and having Ben Mankiewicz introduce a picture and provide a little trivia goes a good way toward selling her on it. 

I thought I had seen Billy Elliot previously, but now I’m not so sure. As a movie for my mom, it has some things going for it: there’s a cute kid, dancing, working-class struggle, and the father hurdle.

However, it’s too recent, it uses the thick dialect of northern England, and the soundtrack is steeped in T. Rex (my absolute favorite in about fifth grade).

Nevertheless, on Saturday night, she persevered — and she liked it. Jamie Bell, as Billy, was a cute kid. His interest in ballet amid the chaos of family and labor strife is an interesting choice. The story is well-paced.

And Mom got to tell me how Mankiewicz is pronounced in Polish.

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